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A visit to Cubs minor league camp

The sun was shining and there was baseball. Or, at least, baseball workouts.

Al Yellon

MESA, Arizona — With MLB players still locked out by team owners and no updates regarding owner/player negotiations, I decided to hie myself over to the Sloan Park complex to see what was going on with the Cubs minor leaguers who are having their own spring training camp.

As you can see, there weren’t many folks hanging around the back fields in Mesa:

Al Yellon

Just a couple dozen people walking between the four fields. On one of them, fielding drills were happening; on the others, batting practice. Some of the players were hitting balls thrown by pitching machines, others had coaches throwing to them as you’d see in BP before a game. The fields were divided up by affiliate, with each of them taking over one of the fields for their work.

I have for you five short videos of Cubs minor leaguers taking BP. Some of these guys are key players added in the Anthony Rizzo and Yu Darvish deals. Here goes, and you can draw your own conclusions about the batting style of each player. I’ll add a few of my own thoughts as well.

Kevin Alcantara

Alcantara is a big dude. Listed at 6-6, he won’t turn 20 until July and there’s still room for him to fill out that tall body. It’s not impossible to think that he could play center field someday for the Cubs, though if Pete Crow-Armstrong develops as we think he can, Alcantara probably moves to a corner outfield position.

Owen Caissie

Caissie is listed as 6-4, 190, but I’m guessing he’s filled out that frame some since that weight measurement was taken. He’s got a somewhat long swing, but you can see the power that can come from it. Caissie was acquired as part of the Yu Darvish deal. He, too, turns 20 in July.

Reggie Preciado

He’s got a nice, easy swing that you could easily see spreading the ball to all fields. Also acquired in the Darvish deal, Preciado is even younger than Caissie — he turns 19 in May. Already ranked as a top 100 prospect (79th) by Baseball Prospectus, he dominated the Arizona Complex League in 2021 (.333/.383/.511, 10 doubles, three triples, three home runs, seven stolen bases in 34 games) and is likely ticketed for Myrtle Beach this year.

Kevin Made

Signed out of the Dominican Republic, Made is the youngest of all these players. He won’t turn 19 until September. The infielder played 58 games for Myrtle Beach in 2021 and will likely head there again this summer.

Jonathan Sierra

Sierra was making progress through the system when he lost a year of development, as did everyone else, in 2020. He played at Myrtle Beach in 2021. He’s 23 and if he’s going to move up the ladder, he’ll have to get himself to South Bend sometime this year.

I’d have gone over to Field 2 to see some of the Iowa guys but... for some reason, the Cubs restricted access to that field. There were people standing along the outfield fence watching Field 2, but you can’t see much from there. There’s no reason the Cubs shouldn’t allow folks to go to the benches on the third-base side of Field 2 while still restricting access to the area around the clubhouse, which I understand.

Minor league games start next week and I’ll try to get over to one of them, at least. For now, at least, the back fields are open to fans who want to get a glimpse of some of the future Chicago Cubs.